Posts Tagged 'havi brooks'


Signs, signs, everywhere are signs.

Signs are on my mind today.

Billboards, decals, awnings, lollipop, banners, human twirling dancing signs.

At our fairy sparkle gathering we talked about how to make the studio more visible as folks skeedaddle quickly down 21st Street. Smushed between very bright and bold storefronts, our neutral colors seem to fade.

Some great ideas came out of this:

  • an awning
  • a banner or flag that stands out from the building
  • a banner or flag that is secured to the sidewalk
  • 3-dimensional letters that come out from the building
  • more decals on the window
  • a tasteful sign on the altar in the window that faces out

So far, these ideas seem to range in price (in order) from $3000 to basically free.

I remember a story from Havi a long time ago about a business in Portland “forced to shut down because of the economy.” This business was on a street she walked down nearly every day and yet had never noticed. There was no sign, no hint of what they sold/offered/did. Her question was, is it solely the economy or could it be your crappy (or lack of) signage. (Apologies, friend, if I have completely massacred the actual story.)

Last week I saw very dapper teenager cheering with a “Come to Jesus” sign at a local church. Not that I’m going to go to the church because of it, but it sure was memorable. Can’t you just see a “Come to Yoga” sign?!

And then there’s Copylicious Kelly (whose two hour Wilderness Concierge session is worth twice what she charges). She talks about how hard it is to get people in the door when you try to sell them on a feeling they’ve never had, which is why signs and fliers about post-yoga bliss-out feeling of connectedness to the whole entire cosmos may not work that well. People can’t relate.

So I’m going back to my basic needs: I want people to be able to easily find the yoga studio; I want to attract the attention of passersby; I want to be clear, compelling (and non threatening) in the messaging. All for under $500, please.

Your ideas, contacts, resources, talents, and donations are welcome. =)


Permanent Retreat

During my Recess I had some sessions with Hiro, who I met at Havi’s retreat.

Hiro is a clairvoyant personal and business coach. Yes, it is the most awesome combo ever.

In one session, she talked about the dualities of life, and how we are constantly negotiating between polar ends, integrating aspects of ourselves which are both dual and unity: lightness/darkness, joy/pain, material/spiritual. This is one of the things I love so much about Yoga: grounding/rising, inner/outer rotations, ease/effort, strength/softness. We cannot have one without the other.

One of the things she “saw” in me was a tendency to get stuck in retreat. When duality gets too noisy and complicated I retreat into simplicity. While this is somewhat natural and necessary, she saw me using it as a way to withdraw rather than refuel. As a way to avoid the polarities of the world.

This message came up again last week. A student loaned me some cassette tapes (thank goodness I still have my Walkman) of poet David Whyte. I am on my 3rd listening of the first tape (even if the content was rubbish, his voice, accent, and manner of speech are intoxicating) where he illustrates this idea with the image of walking down a country dirt road: A huge storm comes. You take shelter in the barn until the storm passes. Sometimes the warmth and protection of the barn feel so good, so easy and safe, you never leave. But you have to get back on the road. You have to keep going.

And because things come in threes, this message arrived, or rather departed, again out of the dove’s nest in our backyard. (As you know from this post as well.)

Hiro said, This shuffling from pain to retreat, retreat to pain is not necessary. The flow of soul is the integrating force.

Hafiz said, How did the rose ever open its heart….? It felt the encouragement of light against its being. It felt love.

It’s quite scary to come out of the barn, to leave the nest, to feel the emotion, to have the conversation, the relationship.

And even more scary that I have to do it on my own. I can take the wisdom and support and encouragement of others with me, but those alone will not create the movement. The leap, the step, the gesture, have to be mine.

Self Care Saturday

Because I’ve been talking about self care since my October Cure Challenge. And it’s my Word for the Year. And it helps to have some accountability. Each Saturday will share my latest self care indulgence—a recipe, a practice, an indulgence, a ritual… who knows! I’d love to hear about your favs too. Let’s take care of ourselves first so we can take care of each other better.


Another gem from Havi.

This is my interpretation of a morning ritual she briefly mentioned at the Destuckification Retreat. Sounded like it came from Hiro.

  • Sit – a few quiet moments to ground, feel, reflect
  • Call upon 2-3 qualities that you’d like to cultivate during your day
  • Feel those qualities in your emotional and physical bodies
  • Light a candle (cue the Eternal Flame music)
  • Light some incense (this is my favorite part) and walk around the house fairy dusting the corners of each room with the incense and vibes of your words (I like to say them out loud)
  • Douse the incense and sit again for a few minutes

This has helped me make a new morning pattern to replace the unwanted previous pattern.

It also creates this amazing good-vibe container for the rest of the day. And to feel the qualities makes them real.

I’m convinced that this technique saved me from catching the Mo Fo of all flues that was bouncing around our household this week. First the teen, then Bubby. Each morning I included words like health, wellness, and wholeness. (On the worst day I tripled up and used them all. The best medicine.)

Ahhh. For today we have joy, spaciousness, and wellness.

Feels soooo good.


Had an arresting mini freak out yesterday about the Very Exciting Thing I’m working on this week.

The monsters and fairies were having it out:

No you can’t.

Yes you can.

No you can’t.

Yes you can.

They weren’t being very sophisticated about it all.

R (who I call My Bubby … like on the show Weeds… except Bubby was the hateful grandmother who Nancy suffocated with a pillow. Anyway…) came in and I took the Giant Leap of Faith of letting my Monster tell him how we were feeling.

Being a boy and all, sometimes he just wants to fix things instead of let them be. Hard, sad, uncomfortable, whatever.

zzzzib zib zzziizzzibbb <sound of rewind travel time machine to the day before yesterday>

The day before yesterday I was reading aloud to My Bubby from my new favorite book, How to talk so kids will listen & listen so kids will talk, (recommended by the fabulous Havi).

This is a book about communicating with anyone who has a heart and monsters.

It’s about listening in all its simple wonder. It’s the Yoga of listening.

I’m only on Chapter 2 and I’ve learned so much.

So I was reading to him in bite-sized pieces. Small enough that he wouldn’t be overwhelmed, big enough that he could get a taste. Like slathering broccoli with cheese whiz.

One of the deceptively simple themes of the book is accepting child’s/person’s feelings:

  • Listen quietly and attentively
  • Acknowledge a feeling with a word—mmmm, oh, I see
  • Give the feeling a name—that sounds frustrating!
  • Give the child’s wishes in fantasy—I wish I had a wand that could make that banana ripe for you right now!

This book has great examples of how we don’t do this; how we deny a person’s feelings, which can leave them confused, even enraged. It also teaches kids not to know what their feelings are, not to trust them.

An example:

Your kid gets weekly allergy shots. You know these shots are uncomfortable but sting for only a minute. After leaving the office today, the child is complaining incessantly.

Denying the child’s feelings:

  • Come on, be a big boy. It can’t hurt that much.
  • You’re making a big fuss over just a little shot.
  • Your brother never complains when he has a shot.
  • Well, you’d better get used to them, you have to have them every week.

Versus listening and accepting (referred to as “giving a name to the feeling”)

  • Sounds as if it really hurts.
  • Must have been painful.
  • Mmmm, that bad!
  • It’s not easy to get those shots week after week. I bet you’ll be glad when they’re over.

The authors concede that most of us grew up having our feelings denied. There’s no reason to be so upset.


Bubby was making slow, carefully planned movements toward the door, almost like a hostage whose guard had fallen asleep. I was sure he hadn’t heard a thing.

zzzzzum zum zum zum <fast forward back to yesterday>

Mini freak out. Tears. Monsters running amok.

Bubby opens his mouth but no sound comes out. He points at the book on the bed.

What that said.


I can’t remember what the right thing is because what I want to say is, “That’s ridiculous, you’re great.”

Oh my God, he was listening. Sort of.

I can’t remember what to say, but I want you to know that I believe in you.

And there I was, arrested all over again.

Fake it till you make it

I’ve been feeling badly (or more correctly, my Monster has been feeling guilty) about saying that our Destuckification Retreat teacher was a faker.

That was a hard day. Monster was grumpy. Not feeling so pink.

But I meant it. At least in some ways.

Let me explain.

Havi is brilliant at asking for and listening to internal guidance. She is brilliant at planning on the fly. She does not freak out (externally, anyway) about not having a plan or changing course mid-stream. She does not talk about what’s missing.

And even though there was, at times, a flurry of unknown, she never seemed flustered, rushed, apologetic, stuck, conflicted, or disconnected.


This afternoon I was talking to one of the TTs who will be subbing for me during my (now affectionately called) February Recess about how busy her Monster has been.

Of course she’s nervous, of course she’ll be sweaty and dry mouthed, of course time will stand still.

But it’s not like she’ll stand up in front of the class Monday nights at 5:45 pm at It’s All Yoga in Sacramento (you should totally go) and say that!

She’ll get all that monster crap worked out before hand so she can Show Up and Drive. If she appeared to be terrified, the students would feel like they had to take care of her, they would be concerned about her, they would be thinking of her, and for goodness sake, that’s not what their practice time is about.

Yes, this is a hard thing to do as a new teacher. That’s why you fake it.


At different points during the retreat, Havi clearly did not have a plan.

She had lots of content and structure. But the morning movement sessions, the yoga, the check ins, the evening meditation? No plan.

Because she is a Gifted Teacher, the result was organic, inspired, and wonderful.

She didn’t stumble, or apologize, or appear to be sweating. She (almost visibly) opened herself to guidance and then trusted what came.

And she had this way of talking about the optional segments with a I-can’t-believe-you-missed-it-because-it-was-so-fabulous kind of zeal that you thought everyone but you was there… but really there were only 4 people. She didn’t say that. And it made you want to go next time.

In addition to all of the life-changing tools and tricks and hard-core content I learned last week, I also learned so much just from being with Havi.

She is good at communicating clearly and passionately, being present with people, looking you in the eyes, making it fun, making it ok. And she’s a really good hugger.

I love her dearly and I thank her from the bottom of my heart.


Re-entry is tough.

I often have a hard time with coming back from retreat to the circumstances of mail, making the bed, litter boxes, the expectations of other people. When my retreat time has come to an end in the past I have felt any combo of sad, anxious, conflicted, and tight. Alas, this time is no different.


As much as I was concerned about…  well, everything at this retreat (the food, the people, having a roommate, getting enough alone time, having to share…), by the end I just adored these sweet, quirky characters who have such immense, tangled stories. Sometimes it was enough to make my heart crack.

And Havi created this fun, spacious, intentionally awkward container where we could really let the Monsters go. She gave so much permission around doing, not doing, not feeling bad about doing or not doing, letting other people do or not do… it was brilliant. She is amazing at what she does, even though I haven’t quite figured out what that is.

The pull of old patterns is strong today.

In some ways I want to write and talk and tell about everything that happened; in other ways I want to curl up in the corner and cry, pretending like it never happened.

Maybe my biggest fear is that after a couple of days, maybe a week, I’ll be exactly the same. All this work, all this time, all this sharing… and I’ll be stuck in the same. old. rut.


This here is resistance—part pattern, part stuck, part monster.


But nowwwwww I have a Negotiator. Maps. A metaphor (yes, even fairies get sad sometimes). And a little pink monster to talk to. Truly, nothing is the same. Just remembering that I have those tools means nothing will ever be the same again.

Food Poisoning and Paradise

Home. As a creepy crawly creature of habit, I love me some home-style predictability and routine.

Since the trip summary in paragraph style would end up a thousand scrolls long, I’ll make a list:

1. Disconnecting was good. We did some Group Therapy, since apparently I’m not the only one with tech-addictions. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought, maybe because I knew everything was in great hands.

3. This was the Most Beautiful and Romantic place I could have imagined.

4. I missed my hubby terribly. Especially since I couldn’t talk to him and especially since it was painfully romantic and especially because it was my birthday.

2. There’s a whole scorpion story from the Costa Rica retreat that I won’t go into right now, but let’s just say that I met my demon last year. And apparently he has cousins in Mexico.

5. Food poisoning. Didn’t I just throw up my own leg last month? Here we go again… and the eve of my birthday. At first I was feeling rather philosophical about it… like, “Wow, there must be something I really need to leave in my 37th year. I’m ‘purging’ so that I can meet this new year empty and clean.” But no, it was just some bad cheese.

6. Along with the food poisoning, Thursday night was hurricane-like windy. My Most Beautiful and Romantic room was transformed into a whirlwind of flying dirt, leaves, gauzy curtains (which were actually the walls), and whatever loose papers and clothes I hadn’t pinned down in the room. The mosquito netting around the bed was alternately blowing around, knocking over the kerosene lanterns, and engulfing me like a giant spider web (think delusional mummy in a bad 1940s horror film after a couple of cocktails in a wind storm. That was me, minus the cocktails.) This was all in the middle of the night, darker than my deepest secrets, in between what we affectionately now call Toilet Chatturungas (I don’t think that needs any more explanation).

So happy to get home, swearing I’ll never go anywhere again (after NYC and then this – it’s a lot for a delicate flower like me… we don’t take to travel easily).

And yet… now I have an opportunity to go to Asilomar for a week with Havi Brooks. Last minute, totally spontaneous, personal invitation…. what to do? Stay tuned…

Damn that resistance

As part of YTT, yesterday the ever-lovely Havi Brooks was with us to share her genius marketing advice (which might be as simple as “be yourself — in print, online, in class, and day to day, just be you”), inspiring us with the idea that you can actually make a living teaching yoga.

As part of the workshop, Havi addressed the fact that some of us have serious resistance that makes us deaf to these topics in the first place: feeling like “marketing” is schmoozy and gross, issues around charging for our services and making money, fears and insecurities that undermine even the best laid plans. So we dealt with this first.

Which meant, Shiva Nata.

It’s sort of a dance, sort of a brain game, sort of fun, sort of frustrating. I’ve had the instructional DVD for a couple of years and now I know why I’ve never taken off the plastic wrap.

No matter what it is… what is does is trippy. It messes with your brain, which wants to see patterns and make sense. The randomness is confusing and helps to short-circuit unconscious habits.

Related to all of this, I had a dream last night of my high school boyfriend. He’s been showing up frequently in my dreams lately… talk about resistance.

In the dream, I am married to and cheating on R to see this old boyfriend. The physical and emotional longing is intense, painful, immature, and very very old.

I was upset when I awoke and didn’t want to talk to R about it, so I did the voices in my head.

I want this so badly.
It’s familiar and comfortable.
It comes from a time in my life when things were simple and innocent.
I could leave everything I know and run away to this.
I just want to be loved, I want him to accept and love me.
He wants me so badly–I’ve always wanted him to want me.
I feel so badly for betraying R.
I’m so torn–feeling like two people at the same time.

There were a bunch of horses in the dream, but I wasn’t getting that they were significant.

Old bf:

And more crickets. And I couldn’t come up with anything. There’s no voice there at all.

Let me back up and explain that as part of an exercise yesterday, Havi asked us to connect with a quality of resistance we were feeling. Right away I had my focus.

She led us through a series of questions about the resistance…

“What is it saying?”

I need you to love me.

“What does it want?”


But when she asked, “What next?” I heard those same crickets.

Maybe I’m not ready to know, maybe I’m totally disconnected or on a different frequency.

Like my impending kidney stone, I feel like I’m on the precipice of something… of letting go, a passing on, a moving through. Whatever it is, I can’t hear it… this voice of my resistance, symbolized by my asshole old boyfriend.

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